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Thursday, July 13, 2006


As I see it, it is about time these facts, known for decades, start being reported to the public. Of course it is likely that you won't read it in the US press or hear it on FOX News.

6 July 06. (shortened)

Major questions have been raised about the benefits of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment after a local support group cited research that claimed the treatment improved survival rates by just 2 per cent.

The Cancer Support Association said on 5 July that chemotherapy was far less effective than people had been led to believe. The association cited a study in 2005 by Sydney radiation oncologist Graeme Morgan which found it improved survival rates by 2%..

Association chief executive Peter Daale said he was concerned some
chemotherapy patients were putting themselves through unacceptable
side-effects for little gain.

"We don't think patients fully understand the implications of the treatment being offered and if it was an entirely harmless procedure I wouldn't bother (speaking out)" he said. "But most of these chemotherapy drugs are highly toxic and they have medium to long-term side-effects, particularly in terms of cardiac health, nerve damage and kidney and liver function."

Dr. Daale, who is not medically trained, said there was a place for chemotherapy but only in certain patients. He said most people were not getting enough information to make an informed decision.

Professor Morgan, from Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, yesterday stood by his claim the benefits of chemotherapy were exaggerated and minimal. The benefits are incredibly low, despite the fudge factor that medical oncologists use. When chemotherapy came in in the 1970s it was thought to be the panacea for cancer, but it's not, and there's been little improvement since then." he said. For major cancers such as lung, prostate and colon there's very little evidence that chemotherapy does anything."

Overall, chemotherapy was expensive and only increased the success rate of cancer treatments from 61 to 63%.

But Professor Michael Millward, Cancer Council professor of clinical cancer research and chair of the WA Clinical Oncology Group, said chemotherapy could help many patients. "Even if chemotherapy cannot cure a cancer by itself, it may improve a patient's condition and improve quality of life," he said.

Chemotherapy may have side-effects so it is important cancer patients discuss it carefully with a medical oncologist and are clear on what the aims of using it are and what are the likely side-effects.

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